Your CV is obviously a vital tool in your job search to getting your foot in the door with an employer. It provides you with an opportunity to sell your skills and essentially market yourself as someone a hiring business would want to meet. But what makes a great CV?
As a sales professional, you can make yourself stand out by including relevant detail. For example, there is a huge difference between “managed sales team” and “actively managed a sales team of 5 senior level sales representatives who generated a combined £2.5 million in new business in 2012.”
Numbers and figures
To secure a good sales job, you must include numbers in your CV. Focus on detail such as how much revenue you (and your team) have generated and percentage of your target that you hit over a period of time in each of your roles. This is the first thing employers will look for when scanning your CV because it instantly marks someone out as appropriate for the role.
While you should avoid boring clichés, the odd one or two sales-focused buzz words can make your CV interesting to employers because you’re telling them what they want to hear. For example, “cold calling”, “new business acquisition” and “networking” where relevant are words hiring managers like to read. Specific industry experience is a massive advantage in most jobs and sales is no difference.
Employers want to know which businesses you have sold to and at what level to ensure they’re hiring a relevant candidate.
Remember that regardless of what you actually put in your CV, the format is the first thing that is going to hit a recruiter or employer when they open it. It shouldn’t be overly colourful and flashy as that’ll imply style over substance but it should highlight your experience in a way that your most impressive skills stand out.
Try to take a step back and think about what someone viewing it for the first time would think. Is the information too bunched up? Does the text that stands out the most represent your most impressive achievements?
Spelling and grammar mistakes are clearly a big turn off for employers and should be avoided at all costs. To minimise the risk of including these, it’s a good idea to get someone else to proofread your CV.
While a generic CV listing all your skills and achievements may yield some success, you’re much more likely to get noticed if you tailor it to specific employers. To do this effectively, you need to find out what the employer is looking for. Carefully examine the job specification and do your research on the internet.
For example, if you learn that 123 Products has an opening as a business development executive, you need to find out exactly what someone in this role would be selling and to whom and where. Armed with this knowledge, you should tailor all the content in your CV towards this. If your experience isn’t a direct match, think about how the sales knowledge you have built up throughout your career applies.
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